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Whew!  I adore the holidays, but I also enjoy putting away the tinsel and the lights, packing the boxes under the stairs and getting back to the comfort of routine.   It gives me time to do some lovely things like sit back with a hot cup of tea and blog.   

There’s nothing like this quick and easy dish to accompany the dismantling of Christmas.  I found the recipe when I was reading an article Rachel Ray wrote.  Now I know there are some Rachel skeptics – especially when she posts things like  Late Night Bacon .  If you read this recipe for bacon, be sure to click the ratings and reviews tab. God bless her, she took a beating for this one. 

Now back to her delicious Carbonara recipe.  This recipe taught me how to temper the eggs so they don’t break when you add them to the hot pasta.   (And learning technique is where it’s at, right?)   I could never depend on my Carbonara to come out right before learning this foolproof method, so my hat is off to Rachel.  I use her recipe except I substitute bacon for pancetta.  If you’ve read many of my posts, you’ll understand why I have to simplify ingredients due to a lack of Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Italian grocers, etc. up here in the middle of nowhere.  I buy the big bag-o-bacon pieces from Costco and keep them in the freezer for dishes like this. 

One last note.  Lea Ann from Mangos Chili & Z  has been on my back  encouraging me to post this for some time – I shared it with her some time ago and she loved it.  That’s all the recomendation this recipes needs!  🙂

Carbonara

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients:

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
  • 1/2 – cup pre-cooked bacon pieces (this is approximate – I use a couple of handfuls)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if you aren’t keen on spicy foods)
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Freshly grated Romano cheese
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:

1. Put a large sauce pot of water on to boil.  Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta.  Cook to al dente, about 8 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and bacon pieces and heat until good and hot, but don’t crisp the bacon.   Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.  Add wine and stir up all the pan drippings.

3. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

4. Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta and oil.  Pour the egg mixture over the pasta.  Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg.  Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt.  Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up egg mixture and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes.  Garnish with parsley and extra grated Romano.

This recipe goes together so quickly and is a favorite for impromptu dinners guests.   Plus, the ingredients are usually on hand.    Just add a tossed salad or some garlicky green beans and you’ve got a delicious dinner.  Enjoy!

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